Now this is what you think of when you think Mad Max. The original movie actually didn’t originally come out in America, and so the sequel was released in this continent as a standalone movie called The Road Warrior. Most people didn’t ever know there was a Mad Max 1 until years later. Anyway, so this is the one where all the classic stuff you associate with the series comes from. It starts with an explanation of how the government collapsed following an oil crisis, and now the highways are ruled by waring gangs out for fuel. This one is much more post-apocalyptic than the first one, to the point where they almost feel like completely different worlds. I would complain about the inconsistency, but it makes enough sense that society would continue to break down further the more time passed with no government, and I actually think it reflects the character in an interesting way. In the first movie he’s just trying to be a normal guy, with his wife and kids. He’s trying to remain sane and normal in a crazy world, just like the remnants of society trying to maintain civilization in a world that no longer has any law or order. Then in the second one, after he’s had all that ripped away from him, it’s like he’s stopped pretending and just embraced being as mad as the world around him. And the rest of the world has followed, hence the transition from small towns with some form of law enforcement to a bunch of crazy people wearing animal skins and crazy masks shooting arrows at each other. Another neat little touch is that they actually stay consistent with Max’s injuries from the end of the first movie, giving him a leg brace from where he was shot in the knee and a missing sleeve on his jacket from where it would have been cut off by doctors treating his run-over arm. Not a huge factor in the overall experience, but a nice little detail that makes the world more believable. Anyway, this movie better than the first one. Why? Well, the budget is higher, the stunts are cooler, the environment is crazier, the villain is more intimidating and there’s a small feral child who kills people with a big metal boomerang. So all those reasons. But the real highlight of the movie is the last twenty minutes or so, which is just one long extended chase scene with a whole gang of dudes in cars and on bikes are trying to stop this one huge fuel tanker that Mel Gibson’s driving. It’s some totally brutal, bloody, intense, kickass car action, and at the end of the day that’s all we’re really here for.
Overall Rating: Finally a movie that has the balls to kill the dog without spending fifteen fucking minutes trying to make everybody feel sad about it/10